From the Courts

Va. appeals court orders name change for gender change

The Supreme Court of Virginia reverses a trial court’s denial of an application for name change filed by a federal prison inmate who has been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder and wishes to change her name, and directs the court to order the name change. We issued an order on Dec. 2, 2013, holding there was error in the trial court’s denial of appellant’s application, and remanding with direction to enter judgment in accordance with Stephens v. Commonwealth, 274 Va. 157 (2007). Despite the direction from this court, the trial court issued an order on March 26, 2014, again declining to accept the application and finding good cause did not exist because the applicant’s stated reasons for the name change did not outweigh the potential negative impact on the community.

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Judge: Attending Pink concert didn’t harm N.J. girl

A mom's decision to take her 11-year-old daughter to a Pink concert has a judge saying, "So What?" The New Jersey judge says the concert trip isn't evidence of bad parenting. reports the girl's parents are divorced, and her father accused his ex-wife of abusing her parental discretion by taking their daughter to the December 2013 concert at the Prudential Center in Newark.

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Expert: Calif. custody ruling runs contrary to law

Parents doing their best to protect their out-of-control kids got a tough message from a California appeals court: If you don't keep them from harm, the state can take them from you. Legal observers said Thursday's ruling by the 2nd District Court of Appeal runs contrary to laws and court rulings that defer to parents in custody disputes with the state. "Typically, for the state to take a child from a parent involuntarily, there is a finding of abuse or neglect or unfitness on the part of the parent," said one law professor.

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